A Message to
Alabama Installment Lenders Association Members and Friends
We are drawing to the end of another year; and, it has been a good one for our Association and most of our members. Despite some concerns early in the year about the direction of the Alabama Legislature and notwithstanding some poor press reporting in the summer, the Alabama Installment Lenders Association has prevailed as a strong trade association that provides valuable and fair loan products to our customers. Because of our work this past year, I think that all stakeholders in the consumer finance world — lenders, customers, regulators, consumer advocates and academicians — have a better understanding of what a traditional installment loan is and how it works to the needs of our customers. And this is important.
There are still significant “threats” out there that have to be addressed in 2017. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau remains high on the list of threats along with some consumer advocates who have difficulty distinguishing beneficial consumer loan products and services from those that are problematic. We will continue our outreach to regulators, legislators and consumer advocates to encourage their understanding of how traditional installment loans work for the good of our customers.
Next year will likely see changes in our industry. On the federal level, there is the possibility that the Trump Administration will oversee the dismantling of significant aspects of the CFPB through legislative changes to Dodd-Frank. But, don’t jump for joy quite yet. It remains to be seen whether the pieces of Dodd-Frank that are altered only apply to Wall Street and Money Center Banks, or whether the changes also affect Main Street consumer finance companies. We will look for some regulatory relief as “compliance” has become a significant cost of doing business for traditional finance companies, despite little showing that traditional installment loans are any real problem for consumers. Our sister trade association, the American Financial Services Association, is hard at work on our behalf in Washington, pushing for regulatory relief. The National Installment Lenders Association works diligently on our issues as well.
On the state level, those who would impose rate caps at unworkable levels will, no doubt, continue in their efforts. We’ve seen some of this approach promoted at the Governor’s Task Force Meetings on Consumer Credit held last October and November. We just need to stay the course, explaining how traditional installment lending works, and why rate caps do not. Our Association will meet in Montgomery on February 21, 2017, to discuss industry developments and meet our Legislators. This annual program is always one that I look forward to. I trust that this date is already on your calendar.
I hope that all AILA members enjoy this Holiday Season with good deeds, with good cheer, with family and with friends. And, may the New Year bring you peace and happiness.
Maury Shevin, Association Director